Metta (Pali) or Maitri (Sanskrit) means unconditional and unattached loving kindness. It is one of the ten paramitas of the Theravada school of Buddhism, and the first of the four Brahmaviharas. The metta bhavana (cultivation of metta) is a popular form of meditation in Buddhism.
The object of metta meditation is to cultivate loving kindness (love without attachment, non-exclusive love) towards all sentient beings. The practice usually begins with the meditator cultivating loving kindness towards themselves (though this is not specifically recommended by the Buddha himself in the relevant suttas/sutras), then their loved ones, friends, teachers, strangers and finally their enemies. It is a good way to calm down a distraught mind because it is an antidote to angerSomeone who has cultivated metta will not be easily angered and can quickly subdue anger that arises. They will be more caring, more loving, and more likely to love unconditionally.
Buddhists believe that those who cultivate metta will be at ease because they see no need to harbor ill will or hostility. Buddhist teachers may even recommend meditation on metta as an antidote to insomnia and nightmares. It is generally felt that those around a metta-ful person will feel more comfortable and happy too.
Radiating metta is thought to contribute to a world of love, peace and happiness.
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